I. I Breathe…

by valerie shultz

July 12, 2011
2315 hours

Today is not the first official day of my trip, but I do feel as though it was the first day of my journey. My boys were picked up by their dad this morning, and I had to face the reality of being separated from them for two weeks. And I mean ‘face it’ like face-planting into concrete. I’ve been stressing and sweating and praying and swearing about this for two months, since I agreed to go on this trip (which, by the way, was an opportunity I’d been wanting for over a year).

The single me keeps reminding the mom me that in order to go on these amazing journeys, I have to peel myself away from my two mini-me’s. And really, I know it’s good for them and for me to do that. I read a magazine article about myself once – okay, so I never met the author but she was clearly writing about me since she was describing me perfectly – something about helicopter moms and hovering too much. Apparently it dilutes the fun of riding a bike down the street as fast as little boy feet can push those pedals and fly off the curb while pretending it’s a half pipe if there’s a parent yelling in a panic from the driveway to slow down and be careful and not cause a trip to an orthopedic doctor to get a cast in their favorite color. The boys don’t even ask what an orthopedic doctor is as they roll their innocent little blue eyes in my direction.

Watching my boys walk away, knowing it would be the last time I would kiss their pudgy, dirty little cheeks or feel their arms squeeze my neck for two weeks took my breath away. So I walked in the house and blinked back tears, not knowing if I should prepare for a small leak or Niagra freakin’ Falls. Do I go grab the Kleenex box or the shamwow? But my phone rang, and it was a good friend with the uncanny ability to make me laugh. And I breathed, a tiny little breath, but it definitely felt reminiscent of breathing.

After my phone call I ran last minute errands, started packing, and left to get a pedicure and a manicure with a good friend. Actually, she is an amazing friend. She – Carol – is also the pastor’s wife and a fellow missionary. We talked, we laughed, we got pampered, and I breathed. It turns out my lungs were still in my chest after all. They hadn’t been ripped out and crammed into my boys’ backpacks with their favorite matted-down stuffed animal friends. Maybe I would be able to fill my lungs with the air of Germany as I pass through, and of Poland as I spend my time there gracing them with my redheaded spirit. Oh, I pray they have encountered redheads before in Poland…

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